Slow Train From Bixby
Growing Up In Bixby
By Don House
Growing up in Bixby, most young people heard about the hobo exploits of Garrett Ramsey, Roman and Ted Alby, and other Bixby citizens. I heard the stories and found them interesting, but I never really wanted to see the country from a boxcar door. Such was not the case for two of my high school classmates.
J. D. Duty and Glenn Morris wanted to experience that feeling, albeit for a very brief time. J. D. told the story, but he didn’t recall if they hatched their plan while playing “scratch” at the pool hall, or if it came to them while watching the Prevue at the Nusho. Regardless, the plan was for Glenn and J. D. to hop the freight train as it slowed down ( It seldom stopped.) going through Bixby after midnight. Bill Daniels agreed to drive J. D.’s car to Jenks where he would meet them when they disembarked after their brief hobo experience.
Their boarding procedure in Bixby was amateurish, but successful, and the two novice hoboes relaxed and enjoyed their free transportation in the boxcar until the train approached Jenks. They assumed the train would slow down going through Jenks, just like it did in Bixby. They soon learned this was a bad assumption.
When the train went through Jenks, it was traveling about 30 mph and accelerating! The hoboes didn’t know when the train might slow down again, but they knew there would be no transportation waiting to get them back to Bixby, whether in Sand Springs or St. Louis! They quickly decided they had to jump, regardless of speed. Glenn went first and hit the ground rolling about the same time J. D. went airborne. Glenn uttered some noises which caused J. D. to want to reverse in midair, but it was too late.
The two amateur hoboes rolled until their bodies were completely covered with the sand burrs which flourished along the right of way. They used their teeth to pull the sticky little pests from the palms and backs of their hands, while trying to stretch and flex their clothing to peel them loose from their bodies. Like monkeys picking fleas off each other, they attempted to get the things off the back of their head and inaccessible parts of their bodies.
It was a long walk back to the car in Jenks, and they found an unsympathetic Bill Daniels who had grown tired of waiting. J. D. described the situation so vividly I wanted to find the tweezers, Methylate, and band aids!
Glenn was a talented young guitar player, making his way with a country/western band, when his life was taken in a car wreck. Bill died, also too young, in 1999. J. D. is a retired Tulsa fire fighter.© 2006-2008 · Don House · Bixby OK · All Rights Reserved. Published at Bixby Historical Society Online with permission.